now has stringent restrictions on outdoor music and seating, according to the amended marine business district code passed by the on Tuesday, written in response to grievances by neighboring Milland Drive residents who have long complained of noise continuing throughout the night. Trustee Tom Kehoe, whose business supplies seafood to Whale's Tale, recused himself from the vote.
"It's been our intention to make this as strong as possible and still make everyone happy," said Trustee Henry Tobin.
According to the code, outdoor music will only be permitted four times a year for special events and must end at 8 p.m. Each event requires prior approval by the zoning board. Unamplified indoor music is allowed, but only with the doors and windows shut, and must end at 9 p.m. Trustee Tobin said Whale's Tale is the first restaurant in the village to have such restrictions on indoor music.
Village Attorney James Matthews agreed to include a provision in the code that no alcohol be consumed in the waiting area after recommendations from residents present at the hearing. Northport police officers will be able to write summonses for violations of the code, with a punishment of up to 15 years jail time after three violations.
Trustee Tobin said the Whale's Tale's liquor license is on hold, to which some residents scoffed, replying that they never should have been issued a liquor license in the first place since they were violating the 1988 covenants permitting only a 20-seat snack bar with no alcohol.
The illegality of Whales Tale's current use was acknowledged in the legislation, reading: The restaurant known as Whale's Tale at Brittania Marina is not a lawful conforming use or a use that has been authorized by covenants and restrictions that restrict uses by Brittania Marina or by any decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Betty Koerner said she'd like to see the old covenants upheld. "Don't go mending the laws for people who've broken them," she said, adding that the restaurant brings increased pollution by intensified usage. "...If the businesses don't make it, that's their problem. Let it turn back to a beautiful residential village."
"The 1988 covenants placed on Brittania go with the land," added Milland Drive resident Richard Thury. "The residents at that time fought for these covenants, they are not to be taken lightly," he said.
Lloyd Harbor resident Jeff Bartels, a boat mechanic and eco-activist who calls himself "Bird Dog," disapproved of a restaurant being anywhere near a boat yard and used the old Jacobsen Shipyard in Oyster Bay, once a major commercial boat building operation, to illustrate the propensity of toxic chemicals which could contaminate the food. "You need to protect your constituents," he said, and received a round of applause.
Trustee Kehoe called the comparison "disingenuous."
Resident Pam Shields disapproved of Whale's Tale as well as Brittania and handed data sheets to the board from a 2008 study on toxic algae blooms in Northport Harbor. She pointed out that concentrations are highest around Brittania, and said a restaurant only adds to the pollution. Trustee Tobin replied that the cause could be a number of things, such as an NYS outflow pump from a nearby sump.
The Board voted against a SEQR environmental impact assessment of the area. The amended code governing the marine business district will go into effect immediately upon filing with the office of the secretary of state.